History and Geography
The common denominator tying together the work conducted at this Institute is the single vast geographic region that it falls within, stretching from the Mediterranean shores of Africa and the Levant to south of the Sahara and the Horn of Africa, and from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf, including Iran,Turkey and Armenia. It also covers the migrant communities of these regions settled in Europe. These studies are undertaken on varying scales, from local monographs (a village, a town, a territory) to regional overviews that include all or part of this region of competence. Here, for ease of navigation, is a brief list of the terrains – divided by country in their modern definition, or by zone – of the Institute’s members.
A Brief History
A Few Landmarks: from the CENA to IREMAM
by Anne Debray-Decory.
In 1958: Creation of the Centre for North African Studies (CENA), hosted by the IEP (Political Studies Institute), in Aix-en-Provence, principally a documentation service, dedicated to addressing issues on the Maghreb in the Political, Economic or Modern Historical Sciences. Director: Jean-Paul Trystram.
This Centre was founded at the initiative of Jean-Paul Trystram, Roger Le Tourneau, André Adam and Jean-Louis Miège on their return from North Africa, and Maurice Flory.
1962: The Research Center on Mediterranean Africa (CRAM) is founded on the 17th of January 1962 (although it will not begin its formal existence until the 20th of November 1963), with the aim of uniting dispersed research resources, comprises of the following sections:
- A section dedicated to Antiquity.
- A section dedicated to the Modern and Early Modern periods.
- A section specifically dedicated to Algerian issues (which remains active in Algiers).
The former two sections have their head offices at the Faculty of Law and Letters of Aix-Marseille University.
1964: First issue of The North Africa Yearly Journal, Year 1962, published by CNRS-Editions. The North Africa Yearly Journal is at first centered around Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia; then in 1964 includes Libya, and Mauritania in 1975. The AAN reports on scientific, bibliographic and socio-political developments on the Maghreb.
January, 1st, 1964: Effective operation of the Research Center on Mediterranean Africa (CRAM), with its own CNRS Laboratory.
- A section dedicated to Antiquity (Maurice Euzennat),
- A section dedicated to the Early Modern and Modern periods (Jean-Louis Miège).
1965-1968: Nomination of the CRAM’s Director (Roger Le Tourneau), independent of the heads of section. December, 31, 1968: The Director of the CNRS decides to dissolve the CRAM.
1969: Creation of the Institute of Mediterranean Research (IRM), which brings together laboratories working on the Mediterranean world:
- The Center for the Study of Mediterranean Societies (CESM), Director: Georges Duby.
- The Center of Research and Study on Mediterranean Societies (CRESM), Director: Roger Le Tourneau.
- The Institute for the History of the French Overseas Countries (IHPOM), Director: Jean-Louis Miège.
- The Medieval Archeology Laboratory (LAM), Director: Gabrielle Demians d’Archimbaud.
- And lastly the Laboratory for the Anthropology and Prehistory of the Western Mediterranean Countries (LAPMO), Director: Gabriel Camps.
Director of the IRM: Jean-Louis Miège.
January, 1st, 1970: Official creation of the Center of Research and Study on Mediterranean Societies (CRESM), which covers the political and legal sciences, human geography, sociology, modern history and economics of the countries of the Maghreb. Director: Charles Debbash. Independent Laboratory until 1970, then an Associate Laboratory in 1971.
1971-1974: The CRESM’s first associating contract between the CNRS and the universities Aix-Marseille I and Aix-Marseille II. Aix-Marseille III added by amendment of the 1974 convention.
1971-1985: Nomination of Prof. Maurice Flory, as Director of the CRESM, Associate Laboratory.
1975: Foundation of GREPO (Near-East Research and Study Group), Director: Robert Mantran.
1975: The Center for the Study of Mediterranean Geography (CEGM) joins the IRM, Director: Maurice Wolkowitsch.
June 1975: The CRESM is spread out across 3 sites: Faculty of Law, Avenue Pasteur (GIS), rue de l’Opéra (Aix-Marseille III).
February,15th, 1976: Creation of a Scientific Interest Group (GIS), with a 5-year contract (renewable), with the aim to bring together research teams and coordinate their work dedicated to research in Humanities in the Mediterranean region (between the CNRS and the three Aix-Marseille Universities). The research teams that belong to the group are:
- The CRESM (M. Flory),
- The LAM (G. Demians d’Archimbaud),
- The LAPMO (G. Camps),
- The CESM (G. Duby),
- The IHPOM (J.-L. Miège),
- and the CEGM (M. Wolkowitsch).
The group is hosted by Aix-Marseille I, at the Maison de la Méditerranée, avenue Pasteur. Director: Jean-Louis Miège.
July 1977: Creation of CEROAC (Center of Research and Study on the Contemporary Arab Orient); one of its aims is to contribute to gathering documents about the Near East and to develop the potential for cooperation. Director: André Raymond, as part of the Aire Méditerranéenne GIS, of the CNRS and the three Aix-Marseille Universities. CEROAC also joins the IRM in 1978.The Centre begins to be fully operational in October 1977.
1977: GREPO becomes a member of the GIS.
1979: The CRESM leaves its offices in the Faculty of Law, and the executive secretary’s office moves to avenue Pasteur.
1979-1982: 3rd renewal of the CRESM’s associating contract. Director: Maurice Flory.
1980: The library of the Arabic section moves to avenue Pasteur.
1980: Director of CEROAC: Gilbert Delanoue.
1983-1986: 4th renewal of the CRESM’s associating contract. André Raymond succeeds Maurice Flory in October 1984.
1983-1986: Director of CEROAC: Paul Bonnenfant.
1985-1989: Director of GREPO: Daniel Panzac.
1985: The Direction des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société of the CNRS charges André Raymond with the task of restructuring research on the Arab and Muslim world in the Aix-Marseille region, with the principal aim of pooling available material and scientific means.
February, 28,1986: Convention signed with the CNRS, Aix-Marseille I, Aix-Marseille III, Région Paca, for the creation of the IREMAM Federating Institute.
May 1986: Creation of the IREMAM Federating Institute (Institute of Research and Study on the Arab and Muslim World). André Raymond, Professor at Aix-Marseille I and Director of the CRESM, is appointed director of IREMAM.
L’IREMAM brings together:
- The Center of Research and Study on Mediterranean Societies (CRESM),
- The Center of Research and Study on the Contemporary Arab Orient (CEROAC),
- The Near-East Research and Study Group (GREPO),
- The Research Team “Anthropologie des zones berbères et sahariennes” at the Laboratory for the Anthropology and Prehistory of the Western Mediterranean Countries (LAPMO),
- The Research Team “Espace et Aménagement dans le Monde Arabe” at the Aix-Marseille II Geography Institute.
January 1988: Official date of the effective creation of the Joint Research Unit IREMAM (CNRS, Aix-Marseille I and III).
November 1989: The CRESM, CEROAC and GREPO are effectively merged with IREMAM.
March, 8th, 1990: Convention for the creation of the UMR IREMAM signed by the CNRS, Aix-Marseille I and Aix-Marseille III (1988-1991). Nomination of Michel Camau, as Director of IREMAM.
January 1991: The staff of the Research Team “Anthropologie des zones berbères et sahariennes”, previously attached to the LAPMO, are affected to IREMAM.
January 1992: Renewal of the convention with the CNRS, Aix-Marseille I and III. Aix-Marseille II joins this convention.
May 1992: Nomination of Ahmed Mahiou, as Director of IREMAM.
January 1996: Renewal of the convention with the CNRS, Aix-Marseille I, II and III.
October 1997: Nomination of Christian Robin, as Director of IREMAM.
July 1997: IREMAM begins its move to the MMSH.
September 2001: Nomination of Eberhard Kienle as Director of IREMAM.
2004: Complete transfer of IREMAM offices to the MMSH in Aix.
2004: The Maghreb Year replaces The North Africa Yearly Journal.
2004-2007: Eberhard Kienle is appointed Director.
2008-2012: Nomination of Ghislaine Alleaume as Director of IREMAM.
January 2012: Creation of Aix-Marseille University (AMU), a fusion of the universities Aix-Marseille I, Aix-Marseille II and Aix-Marseille III.
2012-2014: Nomination of Ghislaine Alleaume as Director of IREMAM, and of Homa Lessan Pezechki to the post of Assistant Director of the Unit.
2015-2017: Nomination of Catherine Miller as Director of IREMAM. Assistant Director: Homa Lessan Pezechki.
January 2018: Nomination of Richard Jacquemond as Director of IREMAM. Assistant Director: Cédric Parizot.
New title of the laboratory: The Institute of Research and Study on the Arab and Islamic Worlds.